Thursday, August 13, 2015

Lives Matter

Life has been at the epicenter of current events these days—who gets to live and what the state of their life should be is bantered around on social media like an abstract topic. I have struggled with how and when to weigh in, feeling the burden of silence and responsibility of speaking out. What do you say when all day it seems like people are saying everything and nothing?

Recently a friend and inner-city pastor said something that inspired and challenged me. He said that we must continue to fight evil and stand against the devil, but we must always position ourselves to be for people.

Those words have lodged in my heart and mind and I’ve been processing how it would change the world if we truly operated from a place that was for people—how it would change our conversations if we took a stand against evil, but were for people.

This is not an easy task. I hear the counter argument rising, “But, people….” I hear that. I struggle with that too. There certainly are people carrying out evil in the world. It’s hard not to watch the Planned Parenthood exposĂ© videos and not feel disgust towards people. It’s hard not to read about a member of Isis murdering innocent lives and not feel hatred.  It’s hard to see another African-American life lost in a confrontation with the police and not want to wield blame like a sledgehammer. But the Bible makes it clear that our battle is not to be against people, our fight is against spiritual forces of evil.

In all of Jesus’ and the apostles’ ministry it is made clear that people matter to God. Lives matter to Christ and his followers. What would it look like if we, as Christians, decided to be for people? What if we acknowledged them all as important—not by lumping them all together and blithely saying “all lives matter,” but by looking each person in the eye, listening to them, caring about them, sharing their burden, and saying you matter. Isn’t that what Jesus did? He didn’t just say “Everyone is important to me,” he looked up in a tree and called Zacchaeus by name and went to his house. When you acknowledge the worth of a person it’s hard to just walk away. It’s hard to shush them, to judge them, to hate them.

It is challenging to be for people. It gets messy and complicated and it requires a lot from us, but it’s what Jesus modeled. It will require us to provide solutions for women seeking abortions, to listen to our African-American brothers and sisters as they express grief and anger and to work for justice where there is obvious inequality. It will require that we serve and love people who live lifestyles we don’t agree with.  It will require us to stand for truth in love. Being for people means we pray against spiritual forces and pray for those who are oppressed and those who are in bondage because each of their lives matters to God.

Black lives matter. Police lives matter. Baby lives matter. Pregnant women’s lives matter. LGBT lives matter. Impoverished lives matter. Orphan lives matter. Felons’ lives matter. Muslim lives matter…. Your life matters.

Being for people means we are willing to see people where they are, call them by name and declare their specific worth. We have to be willing to go to their house and listen to their stories and carry their burdens. 

After all, it’s what Jesus did. Why would we think we should do anything different?

No comments:

Post a Comment